Mercelynne Shares Her Experience as a Nasio Intern
It takes courage to be first. Choosing to tread an uncharted territory is a risk. However, the thought of one, two, if not many, that could draw inspiration from that journey gives one the will power to advance their course. Nasio’s story is one of such firsts and Black History month this October is an opportunity to salute a sister who, more than 20 years ago decided to take the bold step to steer the course of her community’s history.
I am fortunate to have been part of that beautiful story in 2023, when I joined three other brilliant minds from the University of Birmingham and Oxford, to intern at Nasio Trust in Kenya.
Undertaking the internship as a UK-based intern, who had grown up and lived in Kenya, uniquely positioned me to meaningfully contribute to my core workstreams and by extension, the broader objectives of the project. The end goal of the assignment was to develop an impact evaluation framework that Nasio Trust would leverage, going forward, to demonstrate the impact of its interventions to stakeholders. My core workstreams were Child Empowerment and Economic Empowerment, centred on Education and Women Economic Groups, respectively.
Delivering on this assignment meant understanding the metrics that matter to stakeholders in the Non-profit sector. The output of our work was meant for management and funders, but program beneficiaries were a core part of achieving the desired objectives. This meant conversing with them and visualising Nasio Trust’s interventions through their eyes. These conversations would then be corroborated with data to develop an impact evaluation framework that would be meaningful to stakeholders higher up the hierarchy.
My education experience in Kenya was useful in understanding of the challenges faced by Nasio Trust’s beneficiaries and how this reflected in their education journey and academic performance. With the benefit of hindsight, I drew from my experiences in Kenya and in the UK to suggest practical approaches to address some of these challenges. This included proposals to expand the scope of material support to secondary school students, and the use of more open-ended questions in school visit forms to encourage programme beneficiaries to speak their mind.
I also drew on my work experience to stress the importance of data-driven impact assessment, which begins from collecting the right data. For that data to be meaningful in tracking, evaluating, and communicating impact, I emphasised the need for it to be collected regularly and consistently.
At a personal level, speaking about my background, education, and career journey, was eye-opening to the beneficiaries I interacted with. In a sense, I believe that the presence of a Kenyan in the 2023 internship cohort made the prospect of further studies and meaningful careers, an attainable goal to those who desired it.
I am profoundly grateful to have been a part of Nasio Trust’s noble course whilst also learning.
This story is listed in: Volunteer Stories